Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Stories That Tell Themselves

On March 6, 1710, workmen excavating a crypt beneath the nave of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris discovered a number of carved blocks from a Gallo-Roman votive pillar set up by the Guild of Boatmen some time during the first quarter of the first century CE. By far the most famous image from this pillar shows the head of the Gaulish god Cernunnos, bearded and deer-eared, his antlers hung with torcs.

On March 18, 1314, Jacques de Molay, 23rd and last Grand Master of the order of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake on an island in the Seine River in Paris. The order had been suppressed, seven years previously, on charges of heresy, including the worship of a mysterious bearded Head. De Molay's last request of his executioners is that they tie him so that he can face the Cathedral of Notre Dame as he burns. They grant his request.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, Troy: we live by our stories. Bwa ha ha.
  • Troy Young
    Troy Young says #
    A superb story indeed and well worth sharing.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Of Oosers, Stangs, and Garlands

The stang is the standing forked pole that represents the Horned in Old (“Traditional”) Craft practice. I've written elsewhere about the custom of “dressing” the stang with seasonal garlands, and theorized about the meaning of this practice. It now occurs to me that the garlanding of the stang has an even deeper resonance.

It is universally acknowledged in Old Craft circles that the stang in-stands for the Master Himself. By Robert Cochrane's time (1931-1966), the personification of the “Devil” by the “devil” (i.e. of the god by the priest) had as a practice become moribund, so that the lore associated with it has been passed down only in fragmentary form.

That does not mean, however, that it has not been passed down. The ooser* (rhymes with “bosser,” not “boozer”) is the horned wooden mask worn by the priest when he personifies at the sabbat. Here in the American Midwest, as elsewhere, it has become customary for the ooser, when worn, to be accompanied with a “ruff” or collar of live greenery around the neck which, of course, varies in make-up with the season, just as the stang's wreath does.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tarot Magick for Everyone

Tarot magick can be as simple as finding an appropriate card and leaving in on your altar.  You can also sleep with the card under your pillow, or hold the card to your chakras and breathe in its energy.

Tarot magick works with the idea that each tarot card holds a specific energy. Choose the card that holds the energy that you want in your life, and consciously bring the energy of that card into your life. Tarot is a simple, effective tool for this kind of magickal work.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Stags that Wear Torcs

One of the mysterious creatures that inhabit the dark forests of Arthurian lore is the stag with a crown around its neck.

This bizarre figure has entered heraldry and folklore as well. A stag gorged with a crown (French gorge = “throat”) appears on numerous coats of arms and pub signs.

The meaning is not far to find. The stag is the preeminently crowned animal—“crowned with antler”—and, as such, Lord of the Forest. Still: a crown around the neck? Weird.

Peeking from behind the High Medieval Dudgeon of much Arthurian lore one may sometimes see hints of something older and wilder: retroflections of the early Iron Age, post-Roman Keltic world that gave rise to the later material. And here, I suspect, we may find a key to understanding the stag gorged with a crown.

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Working with the energetic momentum of whatever it's your intention to shift - rather than against it - is almost always ideal. The Cauldron of Lilac Fire visualization is invaluable for doing just that. It naturally balances and powerfully purifies pretty much anything you'd like, including (but not limited to) people, objects, relationships, physical spaces, and situations. And the more you practice, the easier and quicker it becomes.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_ferdinand.jpg"Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence." Max Ehrmann

This month’s New Moon features some intense aspects and planetary placements, including a station of Mercury as it prepares to go retrograde. It occurs just a few minutes after midnight on Monday, May 18th (all times EDT, find the chart here) at 27 degrees of Taurus, so anyone with placements in 23-30 degrees of the fixed signs will  have some extra energy to play with this month. Opportunities and pitfalls both abound — let’s take a look at how we might chart a course towards the former and avoid the latter.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Of Salmon and Arm-Rings

Every word's a story.

Anyone who has ever tried to plow through Beowulf in the original Old English knows the word béag: “ring, circle.” It seems to occur on practically every page, so important was it to Anglo-Saxon culture.

The béag was the most important form of jewelry: not so much a ring for the finger, as an arm-ring, a neck-ring, a torc, a crown. Conferring wealth and status, it was also a basic form of currency. One's lord was preeminently a béag-gifa, a “ring-giver”: the lord as generous giver of gifts to his dright. Think of the Horned Drighten, his antlers hung with neck-rings.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I love the way that ancestral foods connect us to...well, the ancestors. The land. the sea. And they've all got their own stories.
  • susan
    susan says #
    I read this with some interest being of Swedish ancestry. Gravlax is a prepared salmon often found on a smorasborg. While entertai

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